April 11, 2016 3:07:01 am
Special Branch sleuths on Saturday night raided a hookah parlour in Kondhwa and detained 68 people, including the hotel staff and customers. The customers included 11 women. Though the joint comes under the jurisdiction of Kondhwa police, the raid was conducted by the Special Branch and the probe has been handed over to Yerawada police, as local police might have vested interests, senior officials said.
The raid was conducted at the Mash Donald restaurant on Kondhwa-NIBM Road where several young boys and girls were smoking hookah, which is banned as per law. Out of those detained, 42 were customers-most of them college going youths and young professionals.
DCP (Special Branch) Shrikant Pathak said, “Based on information about the hookah parlour, the premises were raided. Some hookah apparatus have been seized. The case has been handed over to Yerawada police for further probe.”
When asked why the raid was conducted by the Special Branch and is being probed by Yerawada police when it comes under the jurisdiction of Kondhwa police, Pathak said, “There is nothing odd about other units conducting the raid.”
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A senior police officer said, “Such tactics are often used to bypass the local police who may have vested interests. The joint commissioner of police has categorically asked police stations to take strict action against all illegal activities in their jurisdictions.”
All the 68 people have been booked under the Bombay Police Act. They were released after medical tests, police said. Police sources also said that there are several hotels in Pune, especially in the upmarket areas and fringe areas of Pune, where hookah is illegally served with the blessings of local police.
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